Cannabis is most known for its psychoactive component THC, but the medical focus has been on another component, CBD, or Cannabidiol. CBD is a natural non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant that is the key to much of its medicinal benefit.
What does CBD help with?
Why Does Cannabidiol Work For These Conditions?
CBD attaches to the chemical receptors in the brain that normally bind to serotonin, which is part of our endocannabinoid system. Serotonin a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, nausea and mood.
Your CBD receptors are split into 2 categories called the CB1 and CB2 receptors:
CB1 is found in the brain, liver, kidneys and lungs
CB2 is found in the immune system. These affect the gastrointestinal response and peripheral nervous system sensitivity.
Receptor sites are found specifically in parts of the body called the cannabinoid areas. Cannabinoids are a diverse array of chemical compounds. In fact, we have ones that we make naturally called endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for numerous physiological and mental processes that happen in the body.
When you take CBD, it interacts synergistically with this system. It helps make this regulation system work more effectively and improves our symptoms. CBD has been shown to work in controlling symptoms in very serious diseases that were either impossible to treat or could only be done with major side effects. For instance, CBD can be used to control the side effects of chemotherapy.
Can you Get more Technical?
CBD creates many different effects in the body’s receptors. CBD has a low potential for binding with CB1 and CB2 receptors directly, but it acts as an agonist for your CB1 receptors. This makes them more sensitive to CBD and your natural endocannabinoids. Agonist chemicals bind to receptors to create a heightened response.
CBD also acts as an inverse agonist of CB2 receptors by reducing the effects of other cannabinoids that make these receptors less responsive. It also acts as an antagonist in the brain, specifically against HTLA (Human Thymus Lymphocyte Antigen). It inhibits receptor response to this chemical. This creates a soothing and calming effect without side effects.
In short, CBD acts as a catalyst to make your natural endocannabinoid system work much more effectively.
The Origin of Cannabidiol
There are several sources of CBD. CBD can be synthesized directly in a lab, but it’s not the normal way it’s used. CBD oil is an extract from cannabis that draws natural CBD from the plant along with other natural substances. It is about 18%-24% CBD. Hemp oil can also draw out CBD, but it’s made through soaking cannabis stalks in a carrier oil and has a much lower concentration.
CBD oil is the easiest way to use CBD. While other ways of ingesting cannabis can deliver CBD, it also comes along with its counterpart THC, the part that makes you high. There are many states that allow the use of CBD oil even though medical cannabis is illegal there.
How to Pick a Brand of CBD
The market for cannabis products is booming so there are many brands. Here is what we look for when choosing a CBD oil for medicinal use.
First, you want as few added ingredients or fillers as possible. Find a brand that only has a single carrier oil for the CBD along with the CBD extracts. Second, depending on strain and carrier, different CBD oils will also have different terpene profiles. While these chemicals are usually responsible for smell and flavor, they also have medicinal effects.
With right terpene profile, CBD oil not only improves symptoms but may also treat underlying issues. So some experimentation is worth it.
If you suffer from any of the conditions we talked at the start of the article, it’s worth investigating CBD oil in your area. Speak with a doctor if you have questions about taking CBD oil.